Thomas Jefferson: Author of America

Thomas Jefferson: Author of America

3.7 29
by Christopher Hitchens
     
 

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In this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson, leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father—a man conflicted by power who wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as ambassador to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. A masterly

Overview

In this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson, leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father—a man conflicted by power who wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as ambassador to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. A masterly writer, Jefferson was an awkward public speaker. A professed proponent of emancipation, he elided the issue of slavery from the Declaration of Independence and continued to own human property. A reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy. With intelligence, insight, eloquence, and wit, Hitchens gives us an artful portrait of a complex, formative figure and his turbulent era.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060837068
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/05/2009
Series:
Eminent Lives Series
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
169,825
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Christopher Hitchens was the author of numerous books, including the controversial international bestseller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

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Thomas Jefferson 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
SS1010 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Christopher Hitchens is an outstanding writer who is also well educated and well informed. These attributes clearly come out in this book. He unbiasedly explains Jefferson's life contradictions such as his ownership of slaves as well as his prolific beliefs against human ownership. Hitchens goes farther and meticulously points out Jefferson's many compassionate qualities, his logic and his use of REASON to reach conclusions, his disdain for beliefs in the supernatural and incantations. Then he shows Jefferson's errors in judgement, his "religious" analogies in his writings and many other contradictions in his life. AWESOME Book. Worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to reading a good biography of Thomas Jefferson and received this book as a gift. After completing several chapters, I decided to put it down and seek out another. I found this author's writing style heavy going. It reminded me of that colege professor who cannot make his point but becomes bogged down in run-on and on and on sentences to the point where you don't know what he's talking about. Too often, I found my self parsing back through the many commas in a complex sentence to see what the author had started out to say. I will probably only read one biography of Jefferson - this will not be it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have spent the weekend before Monday July 4th with Christopher Hitchens' dense (in the very good way) Thomas Jefferson and regret having the weekend end. If you suspect an underlying love for the man in Hitchens' view, he keeps it well under control, and here is nothing like the hagiography of some of the other treatments. Perhaps it takes someone with the Hitchens spark to see this iconic figure in classical marble as a sensual man with a fox-like sense of politics, as well as sometimes considerable 'elasticity' when it comes to strict Constitutional questions. Hitchens did his homework for this compact book without a wasted word along the way, and I think he here controls his famous Wildean wit and plays close to the vital facts in respect of a man he considers a great formative figure in American life. Plenty of solid sure information here with a fillip of Hitchens wit just when we want it (so we don't forget the author of the book itself is a brilliant writer to reckon with). Hitchens is the right man for this, for Jefferson had the wit too, along with such scorn for English ways (he wrote to James Madison that the English ambassador's wife 'established a degree of dislike among all classes which one would have thought impossible in so short a time'. Good discussion of the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis's and Clark's expedition, the successes and failures Jefferson had in helping frame the Constitution, his forcefulness on the separation of church and state, his actions against north African terrorism of a sort, the decisions he made that helped prolong slavery and solidify it, and bring about the Civil War. Hitchens has real criticism of Jefferson too, and I myself could spot little bias in his book. Fascinating material on the relationship with his slave mistress Sally Hemings, who, Hitchens posits, in the face of other far more harsh judgments, might have found her master an attractive, fascinating, sensual, perhaps even loving man. A first rate introduction and more than that for those of us who are not historians, and surely of interest to the historians themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sometimes inspiring, sometimes uncomfortable biography of a titan of American history. Brought back to the naked honesty of Jefferson's mortality; the good, the bad, the mistakes, and successes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReaderPlusOH More than 1 year ago
Just "found" this book. I enjoy everything Hitchens pens. This book was no exception. After tiring of today's media headlines, this book makes one wonder what the current media mania would do to Jefferson if he were in today's White House.
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Read the entire thing and I found it more of a commentary on Jefferson than a biography where the reader makes their own opinions of the man. Full of run on sentences,the authors opinions (many times without facts to suppoert the opinion), and references of other books written on Jefferson, this is more of a theises on the man. As someone who reads mostly non-fiction, I can't reccommend this book. As I suffered through the entire thing I am glad the book wasn't that long. I believe I discovered as much about Jefferson by reading David McCullough's biography of John Adams.
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Thamnu More than 1 year ago
Hitchens airbrushes Jefferson's debt to slavery both in the political arena and his personal plantation. He never seems to state clearly that Jefferson's famous words hardly match his actions. I expected Hitchens, if only by reputation, to be more forthright. Disappointing effort.
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